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New Web Browser Leaves No Footprints

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the and-poof-just-like-that-he's-gone dept.

388

eastbayted writes "InfoWorld reports a new web browser designed to protect users privacy is available for download. Called Browzar, it 'automatically deletes Internet caches, histories, cookies and auto-complete forms.' It also boasts a search engine, which the company will use to generate income. The 264KB application is the brainchild of Ajaz Ahmen, known for creating the U.K.'s first ISP Freeserve. The forthcoming version is for Windows only, but Mac and Linux versions will be available eventually."

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388 comments

Best idea I've heard all decade (5, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014401)

This will be on work laptops across the world.

Surfing for porn on the company's own hardware is a difficult problem to solve because you know that the machine's going to hang up on you right in the middle of some huge download and you're going to have to take that dead machine down to IT where they will come to know all about your little addiction.

With this software, you can be sure you're clean even when the PC crashes.

They selling stock?

Re:Best idea I've heard all decade (2, Informative)

rtyall (960518) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014479)

Or they find out about when the unproven software ends up giving someone full access due to a dodgy exploit.
I suppose only the same will happen with other browsers though.

Re:Best idea I've heard all decade (5, Insightful)

BSonline (989394) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014599)

See, despite the importance of porn, there are a couple of things to watch out for. That "huge download" will most likely still be on the laptop. And if you are using your corporation's network, the server you are connecting to will still have a record. But, hey, if you still feel safe...

Safari has similar capabilitites (5, Informative)

stego (146071) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014402)

Safari has a 'Private Browsing' mode that creates no history, cookies, cache.

and Opera too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16014475)

Opera 9.0 > clear user record. voila.

Re:and Opera too. (5, Informative)

phooka.de (302970) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014537)

Not the same: In Safari, you don't create a footprint of what you don't want recorded frst, just to later erase it together with the rest of your browsing history, it just doesn't write anything about your web-surfing onto the disk while in "private surfing" mode.

Re:Safari has similar capabilitites (3, Informative)

b1ufox (987621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014536)

A simple cltr+shift+del is available under firefox too, which clears all your sessions, cache, authenticated sessions, browsing history etc.

So just a browser which says it does it automatically perhaps know how to market on this issue,its not a very big deal now for other browsers too.

Re:Safari has similar capabilitites (4, Interesting)

creepynut (933825) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014604)

Yes, but what does Firefox do if it crashes, or you need to close it quickly?

Not to mention, do this and you lose ALL your browsing history. What if you want to keep some of it?

Firefox Too! (1)

ryanduff (948159) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014538)

Tools > Clear Private Data

Alternatively you can go Preferences > Security and assign the Clear Private Data function a keyboard shortcut or set it to clear when you close Firefox.

Even better still, you can go to Preferences > Security and go through the 6 tabs and tell it no history, no form info, no passwords, no download history, no cookies, no disk cache... That way if someone mugs you while you're on your computer, the worst they can do is go back a few pages... but with no cache and cookies, it shouldn't keep you logged into any secure sites.

Why is this story news? Most browsers feature a history clearing features?

Oh, and the included search engine partnerships to generate money... If they're making money, they're logging something... c'mon people, that's common sense!

Re:Safari has similar capabilitites (1, Offtopic)

martinultima (832468) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014576)

Personally I still like Dillo [dillo.org] – might not have CSS or JavaScript, but it's one hell of a fast browser (and not to mention it never stores any information on your disk) – and yes, it runs Linux.

Re:Safari has similar capabilitites (2, Informative)

lmcplatte (723142) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014640)

Actually, Safari's Private Browsing mode does a good job of not creating history and not remembering what was typed in search boxes, but it still builds cache and still accepts and stores cookies.

It sounded good until... (1)

telchine (719345) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014409)

"new web browser designed to protect users privacy..."

Sounds Good

"...automatically deletes Internet caches, histories, cookies and auto-complete forms..."

Sounds Good

"...The 264kb application..."

Nice!

"is the brainchild of Ajaz Ahmen, [creator of] Freeserve."

D'oh!

Re:It sounded good until... (5, Insightful)

legoburner (702695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014424)

Freeserve is a name I have not heard since the .com boom and hoped I would not hear again.
That is great that privacy is protected provided you dont mind:
server logs
ISP logs
upstream proxy logs/cache
dns cache
any identifiable information you give out to websites

Nice idea for the 'hide-it-from-your-wife' crowd, but other than that not too much use for this, and not really anything that is not provided by extensions for existing browsers already.

Re:It sounded good until... (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014467)

Nice idea for the 'hide-it-from-your-wife' crowd, but other than that not too much use for this, and not really anything that is not provided by extensions for existing browsers already.

Depending on how well it works, we're talking about a browser 10% the size of even links.

Could be an advantage there, even if the privacy claims are bunk.

Re:It sounded good until... (2, Informative)

Beale (676138) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014512)

It's only 10% the size of Links because it uses the IE engine.

Re:It sounded good until... (5, Informative)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014514)

Smells like it's using the IE engine to render the pages.

There's no way you could pack a full graphical browser into 264K on a windows box.

And, without graphics, a porn browser is hardly useful.

Re:It sounded good until... (4, Insightful)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014544)

Depending on how well it works, we're talking about a browser 10% the size of even links.

Since it requires IE 5.5 or above, I expect it uses IE for most functions. Not bad in itself, but it will probably be vulnerable to all the exploits IE is, and users being unaware of that, especially visiting the seamier websites infested with drive-by installers, may be seriously screwed. Nevertheless, if you have to use a PC temporarily and only IE is installed, it would be better than just trying to clean up IE.

Re:It sounded good until... (2, Informative)

Eivind (15695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014586)

It's not a browser. It's an extremely thin shell around an IE-component. It's an add-on for IE, basically.

Firefox and Safari doesn't need this add-on, as they have by default options in their configuration to delete all sensitive information on program-exit.

Strange privacy protection (5, Informative)

foggy (18329) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014617)

1. Enter IE, go google.com, logoff if necessary, close IE
2. open browzar, go google.com, autheticate with your gmail account
3. close browzer
4. open IE, go google.com.... still authenticated!!!

perhaps it needs some more debugging.

hth

Not-a-fact! (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014413)

Ajaz Ahmen, known for creating the U.K.'s first ISP Freeserve

Freeserve was far from the UK's first ISP. There were hundreds of ISPs, including large players like Pipex, Demon, Compuserve and AOL in the UK, along with much smaller ones like Eclipse before Freeserve came along.

Freeserve was the first ISP not to charge a monthly fee, but not the first to exist.

Re:Not-a-fact! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16014427)

Yep. Freeserve was founded in 1998, as the UK's first phone-bill-only ISP.

Re:Not-a-fact! (4, Informative)

phreakv6 (760152) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014508)

From TFA

"..Freeserve, the first U.K. Internet service provider (ISP) to offer free Internet access to customers in the late 1990s."

I dont know how that became..

"..Ajaz Ahmen, known for creating the U.K.'s first ISP Freeserve."

hats off to the /. editors

Re:Not-a-fact! (3, Informative)

MooUK (905450) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014556)

It still wasn't free.

In this country, local rate (0845) calls are not free.

Hmm, seen this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16014414)

Hmm, firefox again, with the "clear private data" on the tools menu...

Browser with more honest PR department (4, Informative)

sznupi (719324) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014416)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heatseek [wikipedia.org]

At least they are more upfront with their mission... ;P

Re:Browser with more honest PR department (2, Funny)

Aethedor (973725) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014529)

That's funny. In order to hide your porn, you use software that has specifically been made to hide porn. no-porn-finding-girlfriend starts program. "Please, enter your password to access the porn".

Hmmm (2, Interesting)

Lex-Man82 (994679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014417)

I wonder if Google Toolbar works with it?

Re:Hmmm (2, Funny)

rtyall (960518) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014499)

Or the My Web Search [mywebsearch.com] toolbar. I bet the adverts'll load reeeaalllly fast on this browser.

Nothing new (5, Informative)

davidbrit2 (775091) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014419)

I'm not trying to be an OSS zealot here (honestly), but how does this do anything that Firefox doesn't do already? Preferences/Options, Privacy, Clear Private Data tool settings button. (The way to get there might be different in the Windows version, but you get the idea.) You can have it blow away history, forms, passwords, download history, cookies, cache data, and authenticated HTTP sessions automatically when you quit. And a few of those can be disabled outright from the start. And of course, Safari has a similar option too.

Re:Nothing new (0)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014448)

The feature is also available directy from the "Tools" menu.

Re:Nothing new (1)

VdG (633317) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014473)

You're quite right, of course, that this is nothing that you can't do with other browsers. However, I think that this might have a couple of advantages.
One is that it might reach users who haven't thought about these things before. Sure: that's preying on potential customers' ignorance but some of them might be interested in a solution which doesn't require them to fiddle with browser settings.
It could be useful if you're on someone else's machine - maybe even a Cybercafe or something like that. Gives a little added peace of mind. The small size of the download helps there.
Cookies and history and such are actually pretty useful most of the time. I wouldn't want to do without them but I might be inclined to use something like this in addition to my normal browser(s) for those occasions when I want to be a little more discrete.

Main thing to remember is that this isn't really aimed at the more technically capable users, who can do these things already if they want to.

Re:Nothing new (5, Funny)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014480)

'm not trying to be an OSS zealot here (honestly), but how does this do anything that Firefox doesn't do already?

If the text is to be believed, it does 1 thing firefox doesn't.

Fit on a 5.5" DSDD Floppy.

Re:Nothing new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16014531)

5.5" Floppy - are you sure? I've only ever heard of 3.5" and 5.25" floppies

Re:Nothing new (2, Funny)

finkployd (12902) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014624)

5.5" Floppy - are you sure? I've only ever heard of 3.5" and 5.25" floppies

What! You never heard of 8" floppies? Kids these days.

Finkployd

Re:Nothing new (1)

davidbrit2 (775091) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014571)

Very true. And I can imagine that some among us might very well still be stuck with 5.25" floppy drives on our IBM desktops at work. ;D "USB? We don't need that. Now go clean out the rollers in these 9-pin serial mice."

I have 2 words for you (1)

Aethedor (973725) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014565)

Forensic Investigation

Re:Nothing new (1)

idji (984038) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014629)

Some other things it can do that firefox can't -doesn't need installing ie -can run off a USB stick -can be installed without admin permissions -start in less that 20 seconds (Have you ever seen firefox do that?) -not require 80M of RAM after half an hour -print a page without chopping of the last words on the right side

This comment authored with browzar! (0, Flamebait)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014420)

God it's slow! Prevented me from getting my usual first post.

I suggest you download the black themed [browzar.com] browzar - simply because they don't charge a $150 premium just to change the color to black like some other companies ;-)

Re:This comment authored with browzar! (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014449)

I was in plenty of time to get a F. P. ... if I could get there.
When I went to "read more" I got a "not found".

Meanwhile, I like the fact that this little app can cruise all by itself. I am a fan of De-Bloated Apps.

The Preview word is "Memory", which this Browzar apparently doesn't have.

Re:This comment authored with browzar! (1)

EsbenMoseHansen (731150) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014548)

Meanwhile, I like the fact that this little app can cruise all by itself. I am a fan of De-Bloated Apps.
Oh, then you want konqueror!
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 4,3K 2006-06-14 02:46 /usr/bin/konqueror

;) Hint: the app uses the IE rendering engine, just like konqueror above uses KHTML. It's easy to be small if all your work is being done by a shared object file or it's local equivalent.

Knoppix? (5, Interesting)

epsalon (518482) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014425)

This reminds me of what happened to me once, when I was manning a booth at a conference trying to convince people to use Linux. We tried to get people to buy a Knoppix LiveCD from us to try it out. So, two people came and were mostly intersted in the fact that if they use the LiveCD to browse the web, none of their data is saved anywhere.

Regarding this "Browsar", does it delete all caches/cookies, or not save them at all? Because just deleting can be not secure enough unless you do it very carefully. Also, what about the swap? Is it deleted or avioded?

You had me until (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014545)

"We tried to get people to buy a Knoppix LiveCD from us... "

Good for a laugh first thing in the morning. Thanks!

Re:You had me until (1)

epsalon (518482) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014574)

Yes, we did sell it for about $2 to cover the cost of the media, as a conveinece. We of course told people they can download it if they prefer.

Re:You had me until (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014620)

I figured but it still made me chuckle. Actually if you consider the time it takes, especially on a slow DSL connection (heaven for bit you are on dialup), $2 is a bargain.

Re:Knoppix? (5, Informative)

phreakv6 (760152) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014550)

Regarding this "Browsar", does it delete all caches/cookies, or not save them at all?
From the browzar FAQ
Does Browzar store cookies? If so, why?

Browzar only ever stores cookies temporarily, automatically deleting them when you close the programme. For many sites, such as internet banking or shopping sites, it is necessary to store cookies to keep you logged into the site or hold shopping cart contents while you perform your transactions. If you visit a site using Browzar where a cookie for that site already existed on the computer prior to you using Browzar - the cookie will not be deleted. However the cookie's 'Last Accessed' date and time stamp may be updated to the date and time you visited the site associated with the cookie using Browzar.

Poor Business Model (1)

roughshod_coder (792311) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014436)

A business model based on a feature that can be handled as a plugin or update to Firefox and IE is not sound.

Re:Poor Business Model (1)

creepynut (933825) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014456)

How about the fact that it'll fit on a flash drive, with only a 264kb disk space use? I'd say that's a nice selling point right there. Firefox requires an installation, and is dog slow from my flash drive. Yes, I know of Portable Firefox, and I use it, but it's still much slower than running the thing on the hard drive... especially when running from USB 1.1 at school in the older labs.

Browzar is based on IE? (4, Interesting)

ncw (59013) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014440)

It is unlikely that they developed a modern web browser from scratch.

There is no indication on their web site that it is based on anything though.

http://www.browzar.com/ [browzar.com]

I found this one message on google groups (in french) which indicates it is based on Internet Explorer.

http://groups.google.co.uk/group/fr.comp.infosyste mes.www.navigateurs/browse_frm/thread/19f96a99deb3 0fc1/76965389104729e7?lnk=st&q=browzar&rnum=2#7696 5389104729e7 [google.co.uk]

Anyone know any better?

Re:Browzar is based on IE? (5, Informative)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014470)

Well, it does require at least MSIE 5.5 in order to run.
So yes, this is only a new frontend.

Re:Browzar is based on IE? (5, Informative)

hclyff (925743) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014491)

Quick check with process explorer shows that it uses mshtml.dll as well as MFC.

"Coming soon" to linux indeed.

Re:Browzar is based on IE? (2, Insightful)

kafka47 (801886) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014583)

They said, "coming eventually". "Coming soon" probably means "eventually" which probably means, "never". :-)

/K

Re:Browzar is based on IE? (1)

tritonman (998572) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014614)

So, it uses mshtml.dll and MFC? I would hardly call it a 264kb application then.

No-go on WINE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16014621)

Quick check with process explorer shows that it uses mshtml.dll as well as MFC.

Probably why it crashes when run on WINE. It does say "The last time you ran Browzar the software experienced an error and your last session closed unexpectedly", and gives you the option reload or not reload your last session, which is nice. Sadly, that is all I could see on my system.

Re:Browzar is based on IE? (1)

Superken7 (893292) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014497)

It uses Mozilla Active X [www.iol.ie]
which is basically embedded gecko with the same API as the IE control.

Re:Browzar is based on IE? (3, Informative)

bendy (34731) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014523)

Given that the acid2 standards compliance test http://www.webstandards.org/action/acid2/ [webstandards.org] produces identical results in Browzar and IE (well, the version 6 I have installed anyway) I'd say it's a pretty good bet. It will be interesting to see how they go about producing a Mac or Linux version if they're just wrapping the IE renderer in some way.

Automatically Deletes. (1)

EnsilZah (575600) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014572)

I guess that explains the "automatically deletes Internet caches, histories, cookies and auto-complete forms" bit.
If you made a browser from scratch you could just not implement those features...

Rendering engine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16014441)

Is this gecko, KHTML or WebKit based? Can someone run strings or is the exe packed?

Re:Rendering engine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16014627)

downloaded it... the black version!

it is not mozilla engine but IE engine... at least on windows. Context Menu is disabled but you can access it by pressing the context-menu button on your windows keyboard...

does not seem to be of any good to me. why would i want to use IE?

oh and why does my captcha read "lawsuit" ???

caught (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16014451)

When returning from work one day I was greeted with an icy welcome and the rather tricky question "did you find any dirty college sluts then?"

Re:caught (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014592)

Well, did you?

Hmm... (2, Interesting)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014452)

But does it work well on a USB flash drive? From the description it seems like it might. Anyone have an idea?

Most browsers already give you options to allow you to not store most of this information already. Firefox has a key combo to (transparently, optionally) wipe out selected areas of this data. Someone mentioned an option for Safari. Opera probably has something too somewhere.

Where exactly is your market niche? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16014458)

This browser is apparently targeted at people who don't know how to delete their browsing history, or don't know why they should.

Ummm...aren't those people who don't understand why it's important? Why would those people decide to swtich browsers solely to get something they don't know they need?

If you're someone who understands why you'd want this, you're already doing it, and odds are you'd rather be in control than having the browser "holding your hand." I do QA for websites that use cookies to track user sessions, so I need to blow away my cookies many times daily. I've never had a proble using Ctrl-Shift-Del in Firefox--does what I want when I want it, and is incredibly easy.

The people who need this won't understand why they need it. The people who care about this don't need the browser to do it for them (and may prefer to do it themselves). Where's the market?

Uses Mozilla Active X for embedded gecko (1)

Superken7 (893292) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014460)

When i tried to run it under wine, the first thing it did was ask me to download mozilla active x
Looks like they use embedded mozilla's browser engine, which is good i guess :)
although that makes it not only 264KB! ;)

"Embed the Mozilla browser engine (Gecko) into any ActiveX application. This control implements the same APIs as the Internet Explorer control making porting of existing applications reasonably straightforward."

(However, i was not able to run it under my wine build.)
I dont need such a browser when i can just ctrl+shift+del under ff, but its nice to have a
264kB +(how much mozilla active x?well, still small) web browser.

Standards (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014462)

If this thing is 264K, and it (mostly) works, where are the other X megs of other browsers?

Someone chime in with a Acid report.

Re:Standards (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014566)

If this thing is 264K, and it (mostly) works, where are the other X megs of other browsers?

It requires IE to be installed. Basically, it's a skin.

Re:Standards (1)

Zadaz (950521) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014603)

As for the file size, the rest of the download is in C:/Program Files/Internet Explorer/

It requires MSIE 5.5+, I have a pretty good idea what Acid will report.

Re:Standards (1)

MooUK (905450) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014606)

In IE. This apparently uses IE to do all its work, simply removing caches and logs and stuff.

BS (1)

tritonman (998572) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014463)

ok, does it delete your IP address from the web server logs too? No? Ok, I guess it doesn't protect your privacy.

Re:BS (1)

PrayingWolf (818869) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014630)

Oh, but its ok because that's how it was designed. FTA:
Ahmed said. "Law enforcement can still go to ISPs if they want; we don't override anything."

My addition:
I mean, we wouldn't want to "override" anything, now would we? I mean we're not saying we can't do it - we just choose not to.

I think we need to pay close attention to what this company does :-o

Two major limitations (2, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014466)

1) It's closed source. So even if we assume good intentions on the authors' part, not many people have had a chance to scruitinize the code for weaknesses. The recent flap about how "wiped" mobile phones can still have their databases recovered is an example of this issue actually happening.

2) It sounds like it only keeps the local computer clean of history. Which I guess is good if you don't want your boyfriend to find out you like the whole Furbie sex scene. But when you're later divorcing him because he won't put on a chipmunk suit, and his attorney subpoenas Yahoo to get records of your search history, you're not protected. I think to be protected from THIS sort of thing the browser ought to default to using an anonymizer proxy.

Re:Two major limitations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16014509)

Why must he share the code? Its his product, sheesh, you OSS Zealots always want someone to share their code.

Re:Two major limitations (3, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014553)

sheesh, you OSS Zealots always want someone to share their code.
I didn't state a categorical mandate for all software to be open-source. I stated two downsides, in this particular application and in this particular domain, to the software being closed source. I didn't run around saying, "OMG - the code wants to be free!"

Why must he share the code?

I tried to be clear about the reason in my post. The argument is this:

  • We know from experience that source code in general tends to have security vulnerabilities.
  • We also know that fully covering your tracks is like security: just mostly getting it right isn't very helpful, because a knowledgeable hacker/investigator will exploit any known weakness.
  • The open source community has in general shown a more aggressive attitude towards finding and fixing vulnerabilities than have closed-source teams. This may have something to do with the relative size of the two programming groups, or that the users of the software are more personally motivated to find and fix vulnerabilities than are the vendor's paid programmers.
  • Therefore: in many cases an application can be more trusted to be secure if it's open source.

Re:Two major limitations (1)

Darth Android (989471) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014547)

People should take a look at Torpark [nfshost.com] . It's a copy of Portable Firefox [portableapps.com] that automatically doesn't cache or save your history and uses the Tor network to create a true untraceable browser. It's preconfigured and works right out of the box and includes some other popular plugins such as NoScript. It can also be installed onto a USB key and carried with you so you always have it at your disposal.

Obligitary funny story about Google Autocomplete (4, Funny)

jolyonr (560227) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014468)

Ok. I just posted this to them as an example of why people should be very, very careful, but it's funny enough I should share it here.

A few years ago I was doing IT consultancy in London, and a client had a problem with her PC all acting funny.

I went along, it was the secretary/receptionist's PC so she moved over, and sat next to me watching what I was doing as I investigated.

I found a suspicious DLL beginning with 'S' running on the system, so I did what you would normally do, do a google search and see what it comes up with.

As soon as I typed the first 'S', up pops good old google autocomplete:

"STD clinic london"

I typed as fast as I could and hoped she didn't notice!

Turned out her PC had a virus too.

Jolyon

Submit buttons not working? (1)

CdXiminez (807199) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014472)

Hmm, I tried it, it seems that Browzar doesn't execute 'input type="submit"'-buttons.
Anyone else noticed this?

Privacy and a search engine? (1)

Zadaz (950521) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014477)

"It also boasts a search engine, which the company will use to generate income."

Why do I have a feeling that you'll leave "footprints" on its search engine.

(And they sure need some way to create revenue since there's no reason to use their browser.)

Firefox plugin (5, Informative)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014484)

There's a Firefox plugin that does the same thing. Stealther [mozilla.org] claims to do the same thing, but what I don't know is how well it really covers its tracks. A forensic investigation into a hard drive can easily reveal browsing history, even if one cleans his or her history and deletes cookies, etc. I have heard of a browser that actually "shreds" this information (similar to Eraser [heidi.ie] but I can't seem to find any information on this browser.

Should we pursue this? (1, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014496)

I realize there are sometimes good reasons to support anonymous browsing, like for whistleblowers, etc. But I wonder if the costs outweigh the benefits?

I keep on seeing these stats about huge numbers of married guys who feel addicted to porn. That is, they know it's causing them relationship problems, but they feel they can't stop. And hiding their browsing history is a major modus operandi for them to continue their behavior.

Yes, I realize there's a possibility that these guys would find some other venue even if they didn't have browsers that hide history. And yes, we certainly have a RIGHT to not be denied tools just because some people can't handle them. (E.g. alcohol, gambling, WoW.) I'm not asking whether or not we have a right to build such tools - I'm asking whether or not building such tools is the most excellent way to conduct ourselves.

Free to use it, free to NOT use it (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014519)

It's like with knowledge. The problem is not the existance of the tools (or having the knowledge), the responsibility lies in applying it. You can use it, should the need arise. You can also not use it. The choice is yours.

I do firmly believe in the personal freedom to do as you choose as long as nobody gets hurt. Tools should exist. Knowledge should be available. Take them and use them as you see fit, and let your conscience (or whatever is used to make an informed decision) be the judge whether and when to apply it.

Just because abuse is possible doesn't mean it shouldn't exist. Security comes from knowlege. Not ignorance. It's like with guns, if you outlaw something "bad", only the "bad" people will have and use it.

Re:Free to use it, free to NOT use it (1)

MooUK (905450) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014633)

The one problem I have with that gun law argument is that if guns cannot be obtained legally, there could be less accidents and less spontaneous use of them. Naturally, I have no idea what the extent of that would be. (I also am unsure where I stand on that issue for various reasons...)

Either way, except in the case of accidents, the responsibility is still with the person pulling the trigger. And that applies to most things.

Alcohol may be part of the cause of various problems, but it's not an excuse - you CHOSE to drink in the first place; if you cannot control yourself when you drink, then don't drink. Same with anything else.

Re:Should we pursue this? (1)

phooka.de (302970) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014525)

So you want to restrict yourself (and others?) to what is morally acceptable?

Fine, does that mean morally acceptable to you? Or to white christian americans? Or to iranian fundamentalists?

Freedom is a great thing. To even think about not doing something because others might use it to do something that some third party might or might not find acceptable - oh my god. Had we started off like this, we'd still be sitting in the trees, mating with the other chimps and feeling good about it. Which, compared to living in political correctness, might be better anyway.

Re:Should we pursue this? (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014601)

So you want to restrict yourself (and others?) to what is morally acceptable?

Regarding restricting myself, heck yes. Don't you want to avoid doing things that pointlessly hurt other people? If you're so self-centered as to not care about hurting other people, then I don't think we have enough common ground for this discussion to be fruitful. And if I know that some situations tempt me to be a real a**hole, then yes, I try to restrict myself to not be in those situations.

Regarding restricting other persons' activities: Most persons have the creative freedom to refrain from inventing things that they think will hurt the people they care about. I was asking whether or not a programmer, contemplating whether or not to create such a browser, should consider the possibility that making it will hurt some persons he loves. I was not raising the question about whether or not outside parties should act to prevent that programmer from creating such a browser.

Re:Should we pursue this? (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014594)

And hiding their browsing history is a major modus operandi for them to continue their behavior.

You need a special browser for that? You can't just tell IE, FF or Opera to clear out its cache, history, etc when you finish? You can't just configure FF to do it automatically?

You can't just create yourself a user account and not tell your spouse the password?

Besides which, they're clearly doing it now; I don't see that a new browser that makes it a little bit easier is going to change anything.

I'm asking whether or not building such tools is the most excellent way to conduct ourselves.

As opposed to what? Trying to force our own moral standards on those around us?

If you really are concerned about all these poor, helpless men who are ruining their lives and their relationships, set up a helpline/counselling service, or donate to an existing one. This browser is largely irrelevant.

protect my privacy (5, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014513)

Protect my privacy, but sell my search results?

Autocompletes? (1)

psychofox (92356) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014521)

Given that it autocompletes, I don't see that it can be that good about removing traces of where you've been...

no web-activity is private! (1)

aleator (869538) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014527)

what idea is to have a browser that deletes cookies and other _usefull_ things on the client side? cache is made so that less data has to be transfered. cookies are usefull for websites to let you remember request(parts). the real footprints are not left locally in the browser but on servers that keep their transmission logs for some time and providers that cache your IP's. therefore you do not have any influence on privacy on the net. but like in real life, what's the matter about privacy, if you do things with a good conscience and don't mind if others see what you do?

A simple front end for IE (2, Interesting)

dreemernj (859414) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014528)

It just a simple front end for IE. There are already plug ins to do this in Windows with other browsers and at least then you wouldn't be browsing with IE so the pages would look nicer. This seems like a bit of a waste/ploy/piece of junk.

Wow... (1)

ilzogoiby (997881) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014542)

Why not create an extension for an existing browser (Firefox?), instead of making a whole new software product? I mean... when I read the title, I thought about any new miraculous anonymity mechanism... People love to "sell" existing things as if they were new concepts... And... what's this article doing here?

Re:Wow... (2, Informative)

MooUK (905450) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014643)

Relatively simple to answer. What they have created, in essence, is just an extension for IE. And an IE extension has a much larger likely userbase than an FF one.

Unfortunately.

Yeah, right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16014580)

Tiny .EXE that uses "already-installed-on-all-windows-boxes" IE engine... Suggest you better get some real browser.

Been checking up ..... (5, Insightful)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014584)

..... and I can't find a link to download the source code.

So-called "security" software without source code is worse than useless -- and would be outlawed if we had a sensible Minister for Information Technology. The information it's claiming to be hiding could be valuable, so there's a clear motive to lie about what it's doing -- and hiding the source code provides an obvious means. I, for one, wouldn't give it the opportunity.

I have set Firefox to ask me every time about cookies. As soon as I see a "__utma" or a "h2" cookie, I know at once the owners of that site have absolutely no concern for my privacy, and simply block all cookies from that site. Otherwise I usually accept cookies for the session only.

I also keep my day-to-day login password as secret as any of my root passwords, and always set up a brand new user account if anyone ever wants to use one of my computers for anything.

Merely deleting is not enough... (1)

applix7 (998238) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014587)

They need to overwrite the contents of the file with zeros.

but I already have one... (4, Informative)

pointbeing (701902) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014589)

I already have a browser that leaves no footprints - Firefox Portable [portableapps.com] . Loaded on my 1GB Swiss Army knife [swissbit.com] the only thing it leaves on the host machine is a pluginreg.dat - which contains nothing about my internet use.

Great! (1)

Kawahee (901497) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014593)

Great! Now I don't have to worry about the huge threat cookies have to my machine (approximately 0%), and can inconvenience myself by having to type in my password every time I want to post as me on Slashdot or any other internet community. I also don't have to worry about finding that Google search I made a few days ago that had the exact wording that yielded some pretty useful results, because I don't have history! Thank you "auto-privacy"!

Then again, in IE7 I can just go Tools -> Delete Browsing History and have it clear itself out when I actually do need to get rid of something and not everything. But that's insecure, right?

Given that it uses the IE engine . . . (2, Insightful)

Ph33r th3 g(O)at (592622) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014595)

. . . does it still leave the difficult to blow away INDEX.DAT [128.175.24.251] files?

Why not firefox? (-1, Redundant)

Klaidas (981300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014613)

Why not just use Firefox? Ctrl+Shift+Delete - click "Clear private data now".

Be nice to your friends... (1)

svunt (916464) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014615)

So many people are posting the same comment..."every browser can clear this data". Sure. However, if I were to, say, surf pr0n on my mother's PC, I think she might be a little unhappy to find her passwords, auto-completes, history etc wiped so I could hide my shame. This sucker fits on a thumb drive, or is a 1 second download from anywhere. I think mum might prefer me to use this rather than take a magnet to her web-life.

264kb? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16014628)

seems like it's using the internet explorer
render engine then ... weeeeh.

oh, im using firefox with no cache (all on teh server),
with history set to ZERO, all cockies delete on close
via squid that strips "VIA", "FORWARD" and "browser-agent" headers.

some websites complain bigtime if they get no "browser-agent".
serves them right.

'What happens if Browzar crashes?' (2, Insightful)

bluebox_rob (948307) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014644)

Maybe I'm reading this wrong, but the FAQ says
Each time you run Browzar it places a simple text file on your computer which contains a date and time stamp of the precise moment your Browzar session began. Normally this file is deleted automatically when you close Browzar, but in the event of a crash this file remains on the computer. All you need to do is run Browzar again immediately after the crash and Browzar will clean up anything left over from the crash by checking the time and date stamp and removing everything after that that point.

The fact that this process is necessary, and that something would be 'left over' in the event of a crash suggests that it does write stuff to disk and then deletes it again later, rather than just not hitting the disk to start with. Not that secure then really, and if it is based on IE I wonder if it shares the same temp-files folder, cookies folders, and uses index.dat? Plenty of scope for browsing traces to 'leak' into IE if this thing crashes and you don't remember to re-run it to clean up after itself.

privacy and closed source don't mix (2, Insightful)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#16014646)

If you wanted to catch people doing unethical things, the best thing to do would be to create software or services that promise to hide information and then collect information about the users. To get around that, the source needs to be audited by someone, and for this kind of product, that means that the application needs to be open source.
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